Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Shermister.
Dana, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today?
My name is Dana Shermister, and I am a 22-year-old professional dancer from Israel. I began dancing since I was a little girl and recall embarking on this journey as though it was yesterday. My preliminary training was in ballet and modern dance, and then I started busting moves in Jazz and Hip Hop by the age of 15. There was never a doubt in my mind, I always knew that I wanted to become a professional dancer. My dream as a young girl and all the single ladies was to be on stage with Beyoncé, because who wouldn’t love dancing with the queen?
My dancing dreams started at the earliest stage of my life. At school, I trained vigorously every single day, even vacations could not stop me from grooving to the beat. All my time was spent at the studio or intensive boot camps around the world. Alas, when I finished school, I had an obligation as a citizen of Israel to serve in the military. However, this did not hinder my passion for dancing at all. I served in the Israeli army for two years, working six to seven hours a day. Then I would shuffle right to the studio to train for up to five hours, no matter how exhausted I felt. These were the most challenging years of my life.
Upon getting discharged from the military, I became employed to save as much money as possible to fulfill my dreams of flying to Los Angeles. It took me over a year to save those funds, and then I nourished my wanderlust by departing for LA for the first time. This was one of the best times in my life, and it challenges me to find the right words to describe how exhilarating the experience was. I had an incredible opportunity to train with the best teachers while living there for six months. Then I had to return home for a while to save up a bit more money before being able to relocate permanently. During this time, I got plenty of work as a professional dancer, which boosted my resume to propel my dreams. This was not a simple undertaking, but the experience was worth every moment to help me get to where I am today.
I got to dance with the most famous singers in Israel and took part in iconic music videos while also conducting my own teaching recitals. I shared the spotlight with famous artists, such as Noa Kirel, Anna Zak, Jonathan Mergi, Itay Levi, Eden Ben Zaken, Nicole Raidman, Sakis Rouvas, and many more. I was also the lead actress and dancer in Michael Rose’s new music video, and I had an exciting movie role that same summer. Since I was not tired enough after all that, I went on tour across the country with “Play Festigal,” which is the largest musical show in Israel that showcases the biggest singers and actors. When I reflect on my goals, I always stay positive and look toward the future because I am optimistic that mine is on a successful path.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
This journey was never a smooth road for me, but that is what makes it so special. Life throws curveballs to make you work harder and be better. I believe that if something was simple without some challenges, there would be no point in doing it because it lacks thrill and excitement.
Speaking of struggles, one of my biggest ones was moving to LA. I went there all by myself without knowing anybody or having a support system. It was my responsibility to find a home and become fluent in English, which was exceptionally challenging at the start. It was also emotionally tasking to leave my friends and family behind, but then I was pushed out of my comfort zone to meet new people. However, this was only a small part of my struggles. My main challenge was to fit in and prove myself as a serious dancer. You might be aware that LA is not the best place for dancers to break into because there is so much competition. There are too many talented dancers here, and they all deserve the spotlight, not just me. To be a diamond in the rough against all that competition, you need to always have the “Perfect” look and let your dancing do all the talking.
It is a tough industry, and everyone is fighting to win the same gold medal on a stage. I did not let this level of stress deter me because I trusted my confidence and ambition to guide the way. Surely enough, that led me to where I am now, and for which I am forever grateful.
Please tell us more about your work. What do you do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am a professional dancer, and my performances involved working with top singers for shows, musicals, and music videos. I also have experience doing fashion shows, and I enjoy teaching on the side as well. The proudest moment of my life was when I took the plunge and moved to LA. This not only ripped apart my comfort zone, but also changed me as a person and helped me grow more powerfully as a dancer. Like a butterfly, I emerged from a cocoon to follow my dreams, and that is something I am eternally grateful for. Moving to LA taught me a lot about myself, especially how to be my own biggest cheerleader because everybody else wants to be number one too. I started believing in my abilities and talent more than ever before and learned how to take care of myself without relying on anybody’s help. I became a bolder person in terms of speaking my mind. And most importantly, I grew a lot of passion and faith in myself. This is what makes me proud of how far I have come in terms of setting mountainous goals and achieving them through sheer determination. It makes me feel special in many ways.
I believe that what sets me apart from others is my ability to express my emotions through dance and communicating them with every step. This is a gift I have had for the longest time, and it helps me open my heart to others so that I can form meaningful relationships with all kinds of people. With a positive and compassionate attitude, I am always ready to see what the future holds because it does not scare me anymore.
What is “Success” or “Successful” for you?
In my opinion, success means being the best at what you are most passionate about by channeling your talents and pushing boundaries. I love being the best at what I do, and it is not solely about my passion since childhood, because there is a lot of hard work involved to avoid being mediocre. Being successful is a responsibility because you must influence others and motivate them through your work and determination. It is not easy being a role model for people around the world. However, if you are always loyal and truthful to yourself. That motivational drive needs to come from within, and you are the only one in the driver’s seat because this is your life, and these are your dreams. Be the most inspirational person you can be and nothing less because you owe that to yourself. Reach for the sky so that someday you can dance among the stars.
- Email: Pilimu123@gmail.com
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